Bond Wardrobe Review 12: For Your Eyes Only (1981)

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James Bond Builds Up Muscle Tone by Putting on His Clothes

Roger Moore as James Bond
Director: John Glen
Costume designer: Elizabeth Waller
Wardrobe master: Tiny Nicholls
Tailoring: Douglas Hayward
Shirts: Frank Foster

Overview

After the extravagance of the 1970s, James Bond was refreshed in a ‘down-to-earth’ and ‘back-to-basics’ approach for the 1980s. The absurd original stories were put on hold in favour of a return to Ian Fleming’s short story collection For Your Eyes Only. The tone was once again that of a Cold War thriller, and James Bond’s style had to revert to tradition to follow.

Costume designer Elizabeth Waller returned Bond’s wardrobe to a much more classic one in every way and paired back all of the more flamboyant and fashionable styles that Moore had become known for. For the first time Bond’s wardrobe was almost devoid of unusual or fashion-forward details. Fashion overall was in a transitional period, so while the lapel width or trouser leg shape don’t match what people wear today, there’s also little to suggest these clothes were made in 1980. It helps that classic styles were in fashion after people had grown tired of 1970s excess.

Roger Moore found a new English tailor to make his clothes: the legendary Doug Hayward, who was already popular with British stars like Michael Caine, Peter Sellers and Terence Stamp over the prior 15 years. Hayward previously worked with tailor Dimi Major, who tailored George Lazenby for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and his style was similar.

Hayward believed in a simple approach to tailoring that looks natural on the wearer without fussy details. He combined the softness and lightness of Italian tailoring with English flair and tradition. It’s a style that is aligned with Ian Fleming’s vision for Bond, so it’s a perfect fit for this film.

Formal Wear

Moore wears his first single-breasted dinner jacket as James Bond in For Your Eyes Only. Hayward put Bond in the black notched-lapel dinner jacket from Goldfinger and Diamonds Are Forever. Notched lapels on dinner jackets are often disparaged by certain traditionalists as being too business-suit-like and not appropriate, but the style goes back to the early days of the dinner jacket. By the time of For Your Eyes Only the notched-lapel dinner jacket had existed for almost a century. Notched laples draw less attention than peaked lapels and shawl collars, so they are a suitable choice for a Bond who wants to remain low-key.

As a matter of taste, I prefer peaked lapels and shawl collars on dinner jackets, but in researching menswear history I can’t say that Bond is wrong for wearing notched lapels. The lapels have a healthy width without being too wide, and they are shaped with belly. Because the shape of the lapel is so carefully crafted, it looks appropriately elegant for a dinner jacket.

This dinner jacket is subtle and classic in other ways. It follows tradition with a single front button. It’s made of a traditional black wool barathea. Horn buttons add a subtle touch compared to the usual silk-covered buttons. There are elegant double vents at the back, reviving the detail that Bond’s English tailors almost always used in the films before Bond went to an Italian tailor.

The trousers have a flat front, straight legs and a wide silk waistband that extends to the side and fastens with two buttons. It is reminiscent of a cummerbund, and a style Hayward started in the 1960s. It’s an elegant and clever addition to the dinner suit.

The Frank Foster dress shirt has a spread collar, double cuffs and a pleated front, all traditional details. The cloth is a white-on-white stripe, similar to what Sean Connery wore in a few Bond films but more subtle. It brings a level of interest to this outfit, which is otherwise fairly plain.

The bow tie is a classic butterfly shape, and it’s a thick bow tie judging by the size of the knot in the middle. It follows the rest of the outfit by not being unusual, but by doing something typical exceptionally well.

Lounge Suits and Blazer

The Doug Hayward suits in For Your Eyes Only revive the traditional styles that Sean Connery and George Lazenby wore. In London, Bond wears three flannel suits in classic shades of grey and navy. He starts off with a dark grey flannel three-piece suit reminiscent of Connery’s frequent dark grey flannel suits to visit his deceased wife’s grave. Perhaps in a callback to Lazenby’s London style, Moore’s three-piece suit also has three buttons. That may just be because Major and Hayward came from a shared tradition and favoured three buttons on three-piece city suits.

For Your Eyes Only Charcoal Suit

The suit follows English city-suit customs with straight, flapped pockets, no ticket pocket and double vents. The belted trousers have a plain front, no side pockets, two cash pockets below the waistband and a somewhat wide, straight leg. While the width of a leg looks slightly dated today, it looks elegant on Roger Moore, particularly as it lacks the flared shape of Moore’s previous Bond trousers. All of Moore’s suits in For Your Eyes Only have these same details.

The three-piece suits in the film lose points for having a belt under the waistcoat, but the belts are trim and don’t disrupt the waistcoats all that much. The waistcoats have six buttons and two welt pockets, so they’re fairly classic. I do find that the waistcoats are slightly too long and thus create a little too much upper body bulk.

For Your Eyes Only Charcoal Suit

Moore wears the suit with a dark blue striped shirt that has a contrasting white semi-spread collar and white deep two-button mitred cuffs. The shirt has a very conservative look that may be too much of a banker look for the character, but it still looks elegant and appropriate for London. The semi-spread collar has been toned down from Moore’s 1970s styles and its proportions are only a little larger than average. The collar shape gives Bond a proper English look while its size gives him presence without looking dated or fashion forward. The mitred cuffs are elegant without being unusual, except in their superb execution. The same collar and cuff styles continues throughout the film.

For Your Eyes Only Shoes

The dark grey silk shantung tie is subtle, and its texture recalls some of Moore’s earlier ties. It’s a superbly Bondian choice for how it matches the suit and does not compete with the shirt. Moore’s black loafers are now plainer without any tassels or horsebit detailing, recalling Fleming’s Bond style and breaking away from the old-fashioned city look.

The next suit is another three-piece in navy worsted flannel chalk stripe, another classic city choice that recalls Connery’s and Lazenby’s chalk stripe suits. This one has two buttons instead of three, so it’s more reminiscent of the Connery look. A sky blue poplin shirt also continues the Connery look. The navy tie is also a Bondian choice, while its elegant white and grey stripes add a bit more of a classic English style.

In a return to tradition not seen since the 1960s, Bond once again throws a trilby onto the coat rack when entering the office, though he does not wear the hat. It would have looked anachronistic had he worn it, so this was done with a good balance of old and new.

A mid-grey flannel suit for Bond’s next city meeting is another classic Bond choice, again recalling some of the suits Connery wears. A grey grenadine tie brilliantly revives another Connery-Bond classic, albeit in a new colour. Connery usually wore darker ties, but the low-contrast look here is more flattering on Moore’s complexion. A cream—bordering on pale yellow—poplin shirt is another classic Bond choice, which is also flattering on Moore. This is one of Bond’s lowest-contrast suited looks of the series, but I find that it is very elegant and attractive on Moore.

Moore’s final suit of the film features only in a brief scene. It’s a fawn-coloured wool gabardine for the Mediterranean, where would fit in perfectly if there were others wearing suits. The colour is rich and looks spectacular on Moore. The low-contrast mix of a mid blue shirt and a striped slate blue tie does as well. Bond stands out a bit much in his suit in this scene, but perhaps he made the choice to wear a suit because he was going to a church and wanted to dress respectfully. This suit’s colour isn’t all that different from his light brown silk suit in The Spy Who Loved Me, but this colour looks more elegant, as does the way he wears it.

Moore also revives his quintessential double-breasted blue blazer and pairs it with beige wool trousers and an open-neck sky blue shirt. The combination is a classic one and looks elegant and relaxed on Moore. The blazer is a classic six-button model with two to button and peaked lapels. The button placement looks wrong, however, because it is too low and the buttons are crammed together with not enough vertical spacing. If the bottom row of buttons were done away with and the top buttons were moved up an inch, the blazer would look considerable more balanced, but it would lack the classic button arrangement. Ideally, the centre row of buttons should move up about two inches and the other rows should be about 3 1/2 to 4 inches above and below.

Casual Attire

Apart from the pre-title sequence, Bond’s tailored clothes are not worn for the action set pieces. Instead, he wears casual clothing for the action. This may have done so there’s less cost involved in tailoring extra suits for stuntmen and the possibilities of damage. Hayward still made Moore’s bespoke casual trousers and Frank Foster still made Moore’s bespoke casual shirts for many of the other action-packed moments. I think that these clothes are some of Bond’s most elegant casual styles of the series.

There are a tremendous number of casual looks in this film, featuring the most since Thunderball. Like in Thunderball, the casual looks are more significant in the film’s wardrobe than the tailoring is, even though the tailoring is brilliantly done in both films.

A sage green suede blouson made by Ian Mankin over an ecru jersey short-sleeve shirt and fawn linen trousers is the first of these casual looks and sets the tone for the film’s casual style. There so many nice jackets in the film that Roger Moore’s James Bond could give Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt a run for his money. The green blouson provides some unsuccessful camouflage in the woods, while the ecru shirt and fawn trousers are attractive complements. This is a rare occasion when Bond wears green, but it looks wonderful on Roger Moore.

His next casual outfit features another blouson, this time in shearling. He wears it tonally with a tan polo neck and fawn wool cavalry twill trousers. This is a beautiful and new, but successful, look that works for Bond. The shades of fawn and tan look perfect together and superb on Moore. It’s a shame this outfit sees little screen time.

He quickly dons his Bogner ski suit for the next scene. A mid-blue ski parka recalls George Lazenby’s blue ski suit but in a more modern and accessible way with numerous layers. He wears it with navy ski trousers, a white polo neck, a navy V-neck jumper with white stripe across the chest, and a navy-and-white striped knit cap. Blue makes the outfit looks Bondian. The knitwear looks a bit 1980s, but in a classic way. The practicality of this look helps it still be wearable today, but there’s also an elegance to this ski look that most modern ones lack.

After Bond is captured by Columbo, Columbo asks Bond to join his mission and provides him with a stylish outfit that looks as much 1960s as it does 1980s. The outfit consists of a bomber jacket, a polo neck and trousers, all in similar shades of dark-blue that combine perfectly. I find blue makes this look more stylish and more flattering than the more obvious choice of black. A team of men in blue also makes them look like the good guys, while black may be more likely to make them look like bad guys. The monochrome look is effective in this context, but one of the items could be switched to a different colour for a more wearable casual look in real life. Moore has rarely looked this cool as Bond.

Bond returns to warm-weather looks with a pale yellow short-sleeve jersey shirt and stone-coloured cotton trousers with an off-white surcingle belt. While this outfit looks good on Moore, it also has a bit of an old-man look. I’d still wear it myself, but probably with a different colour shirt.

Bond finds himself in a blue V-neck t-shirt and the same cotton trousers as before when subjected to keelhauling. The t-shirt is not a typical Bond look, but in this context Bond was likely dressed by the bad guys for his death. Moore’s Bond would only wear a t-shirt as an undershirt. If this scene featured Sean Connery or Daniel Craig, Bond probably would have been shirtless. A t-shirt is the closest thing to shirtless that looks flattering on a 53-year-old Roger Moore. And it looks surprising good on him. For the scene the t-shirt makes much more sense than a Frank Foster shirt does. It helps us take the scene seriously to see Roger Moore’s Bond for once not dressing with style in mind.

For most of the film’s final act, Bond is dressed in an outfit that combines stylish casualwear with practical outdoor garments. At the base of the ensemble is a casual dark-blue jersey shirt, and over it he layers a light grey fisherman’s jumper and a dark blue quilted gilet. On the bottom he wears black corduroy trousers and blue climbing shoes.

While the shirt is bespoke, and the trousers probably are too, the outfit looks completely practical. Perhaps too practical, as it’s one of the rare occasions where Moore’s Bond prioritises a useful outfit over a stylish one. A leather jacket like Columbo wears in this scene would have looked cooler, but the knitted shirt and jumper along with a gilet provides Bond with warmth, freedom of movement and handy pockets. Without the gilet, this outfit is easy to wear as a casual look.

This mission also required Bond to don two diving suits, one in blue and one in yellow. The blue one looks more suitable for the character, but the yellow one ensures we can see Bond easily underwear amidst the darkness.

Moore once again proves that he is the Bathrobe Bond by wearing three in this film. None of the bathrobes are Bond’s own. He borrow’s Columbo’s red-and-black striped bathrobe when he goes home with Lisl. Later he wears a blue bathrobe after the keelhauling and a white bathrobe at end of the film, both aboard the Triana yacht. These two either belonged to the late Sir Timothy Havelock or were there aboard the boat for guests to use. All of them appear to be quality bathrobes, but nothing overly luxurious.

Other Characters

Chaim Topol’s Columbo and Julian Glover’s Kristatos are two very well-dressed villains, particularly in their dinner jackets and in Columbo’s blazer. Like Bond. they also wear Frank Foster shirts. Because of how well these characters are tailored, they are shown to be on Bond’s level and are not to be challenged lightly. Both of their tailored styles consist of items Bond could wear himself. The characters’ personalities are allowed to speak without the entertaining comic-book costumes of many previous Bond characters.

Well Done, James

The classic styles of both the suits and the casual items hold up today. The formal and casual clothes look equally refined and distinguished without being too showy or fancy. The fits are excellent and timeless. Every outfit is well coordinated and flattering on Roger Moore without looking too studied. The film’s wardrobe looks realistic while still being aspirationally Bondian.

Elizabeth Waller curated a wonderful colour palette of blue, grey, fawn and yellow for this film. While Bond occasionally breaks away from these colours, by mostly sticking with them it gives the character a desirable consistency and identity. None of these colours are new to Bond, but while the first three colours originally came from Connery’s Bond films, the yellow carries over from Moore’s previous two Bond films. The palette is classic Bond but still curated with Roger Moore in mind.

Not Perfected Yet

The low button stance on the jackets, both the suit jackets and the double-breasted blazer, are a bit dated. A low button stance was a 1980s and 1990s style, but Hayward made it his own. While it was typical at the time to lower the gorge, Hayward kept the gorge high so his jackets wouldn’t look so dated.

Moore’s body demanded a lower button stance than usual, but Hayward went just a little too low by about half an inch and the jackets ended up looking unbalanced. However, it is far better than the button stance being too high and this is ultimately a minor complaint.

Verdict

Elizabeth Waller is a key player in bringing Bond back to his roots in For Your Eyes Only by dressing him with an eye for tradition and realism. Some of the clothes look a bit old-fashioned today and don’t have the cool factor that Connery’s outfits usually had. They look like they’re from a slightly older time, but never in a distracting way. The all-blue sneaky casual look, however, is one of Roger Moore’s coolest as Bond, particularly as it looks straight out of the 1960s.

None of the clothes look terribly unfashionable today—they still look elegant and tasteful. As classic fits return to fashion, and especially as younger men are embracing fuller fits, the clothes in For Your Eyes Only will continue to stand the test of time.

James Bond looks as we expect him to look throughout the film. He is always suitably dressed, and at no moment in the film do his clothes distract from the character or the rest of the film. The wardrobe helps Roger Moore look more than ever before like we expect James Bond to look and contributes to one of his best performances in the role. The wardrobe isn’t perfect, but it comes so very close.

Rating: 9/10

Do you agree or disagree with my assessment? Leave your comments below.

52 COMMENTS

  1. A lower button stance actually makes it more comfortable to move around. The only jacket with a relatively low button stance that I have is a dinner jacket (single button front), and I must say it is the most comfortable jacket I own.
    It seems we are in a transitional period again and the jackets sold off the rack are now not as tight and short as a decade ago. Neither is the button stance as ridiculously high as it used to be in the 2010’s, but it’s still too high in most cases (at least for my body). That being said, some brands are really doing a good job with the button placement. Among the “affordable brands” I could name J. Crew and Brooks Brothers. Not too long ago I tried a number of blazers and sports coats at a Brooks store and was pleasantly surprised to find the new cut to be very flattering. The button stance is particularly well placed.

  2. Good post. I actually find the Seventies clothes more interesting than the early Eighties stuff but its true Roger has some beautiful understated suits in this film that are much closer to what Fleming’s Bond would wear. Marred as you say by the low buttons on the jackets, although that ironically is a result of following fashion! It’s also interesting to see how Bond is overdressed for some if the scenes. This is a recurrent issue, especially in the later bonds, where he is the only person wearing formal clothes in a scene. Who is the most consistently overdressed Bond I wonder? Could it be Mr Craig?

    • He might have been very overdressed in certain settings, but he has also been more casually dressed than any of the other Bonds.

  3. Hello Matt,
    Wasn’t the blouson identified as Ian Mankin by one of your readers back when you covered it?
    Leather Concessionnaires/Wested were used for AVTAK
    Best regards,

  4. A great review, well written and researched! I agree 100% on the assessment. A peak lapeled dinner jacket and a slightly higher button stance would have secured the 10th point.

  5. Excellent review Matt. I would also score this a 9/10. The jackets in the lounge suits starting in FYEO through to AVTAK are my favourites in the series. I too wear a longer jacket to offset my long legs just like Roger Moore did. The fit is superb. The trousers look great on Roger, although I would have preferred some taper, the legs are still pretty wide here but slimmed down to a better width for Octopussy imo. The colour and material choices for the suits are so well chosen. The light brown suit with that shirt and tie look so good on Roger Moore, a real shame it didn’t get more screen time. I love the choice of ties which are varied while being classically elegant and suiting the character. I could see Connery’s Bond wearing all of these ties. I do agree that the button position on the navy blazer is a rare Hayward misstep but I still love that outfit. I love the green and brown blouson outfits and have similar items inspired by these. Also love the all navy nighttime look. The yellow jersey shirt does indeed look a bit old manish but I love the colour combo and often wear summer outfits inspired by this. I go for a yellow polo or long sleeve linen shirt with stone coloured chinos.

  6. What I find interesting about the wardrobe for this film is that it truly reflects the times. The 1970s were over. Carter was no longer president. Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were in charge, and they brought, for lack of a better phrase, things done to earth. So did this film. No “Moonraker” outlandishness. Just a pretty taught Cold War drama.

    Reagan wore white tie and tails to his inauguration balls in 1981. Things were going a little more conservative and the clothes of Bond reflected that. No more wild 1970s styles.

    At least that’s what I remember about the times in the U.S. I believe Britain had a similar vibe going on, but I wouldn’t swear to it.

    But the result, as far as the film’s wardrobe, is only for the good as far as I’m concerned. I especially like the blazer when they’re sight-seeing. It’s elegant but doesn’t stick out.

    Overally, I really like the clothes in this film.

    • I had a sentence about this in the review initially, but I removed it because I didn’t want to make things political. Reagan was not yet elected President when this film started production, but Thatcher was in office since just before Moonraker was released, so this was the first Bond film to be made under Thatcher. The conservative sentiment had to have started before the election, and we see a little of it reflected in Moonraker’s wardrobe compared to The Spy Who Loved Me. I wonder if French politics might have been more relevant to the Moonraker costuming.

      • I think consideration of an era’s politics’ impact on its habiliments is perfectly appropriate as long as the reviewer himself remains objective and apolitical.

        I can’t remember the event but Biden (for whom I would not have voted were I an American), wore a very somber dark grey suit (I think flannel), that, in my opinion, looked aeons better on him than the ‘youthful’ blues he and his team usually resort to, presumably to afford him that mien of vigour that he can’t quite pull off (nor should he have to try – age alone shouldn’t disbar one from office).

        I let my personal politics slip into my mini-Biden review in EXACTLY the way I’d caution against! But I did think that Biden looked unusually good in dark grey and that’s no comment on his relatively advanced years.

      • French politics at the time were conservative, center to right-wing and liberal (in the French sense, not leftist) and pro-Europe with Giscard as President. It may be reflected more in the ladies wardrobes with Ms Chiles wearing Givenchy. The French First lady of the time has been known to wear Givenchy.

      • Valéry Giscard d’Estaing was President in 1979 and François Mitterrand in 1981.

      • It would be a stretch to say that, in 1981, a conservative tide was sweeping across the UK. I’m old enough to remember those days: the nightly news bulletins featured unemployment news, reporting significant job losses (and new openings) like sports results. There was major rioting in some cities. Geoffrey Howe – the chancellor (finance minister) at the time wrote in his memoirs about how his budget that year got his lots of criticism in his own party. Anyone who wants to get an idea of what the vibe was like should listen to “Ghost Town”, by The Specials.

        Of course Margaret Thatcher was in power, but that may be because of the Winter of Discontent in 1978/79. She won a bigger majority in 1983, but by that time (a) the economy was starting to turn around (b) she was coming off the Falklands War win and (c) the opposition leader, Michael Foot, was running on a manifesto of things like unilateral nuclear disarmament (at the height of the cold war).

        It’s been observed of Mrs Thatcher that she was lucky in her enemies.

        Anyway, I appreciate (and agree with) Matt’s reluctance to turn this into a political blog, just thought it would be helpful to say a bit about what the UK was like in those days.

  7. I’m really loving this series and I’m looking forward to LTK and the Brosnan films (LTK because I’m interested to hear your take on the wedding outfits and the Brosnan films because it’s the only era in which I knew anything about fashion).

    Next week should be 100% in-depth analysis of the clown suit, starting with historical context of the traditional clown archetypes., The significance on Bond’s choice of the Auguste clown outfit in the early 80’s geopolitical context, etc. And of course, HOW IN THE HELL DID HE PUT THE CLOWN SUIT (AND MAKEUP???????) SO QUICKLY?

    If you insist on covering non Clown-suit topics, I be suppose you could talk about the gorilla suit, but that’s it

  8. I would’ve preferred the 3 piece suit at the start to have been in a solid colour and swap the two button cuffs for cufflinks.

    • Yes. While I don’t have experience drawing a gun from inside a jacket, I can say that a lower button stance makes it easier to reach inside an in-breast pocket.

  9. I like the outfits on the whole and they reflect the era and do away with the flares and the wide lapels for instance.

    • The flares and wide lapels reflected the era too and fitted him perfectly. If he’d worn a straight leg trouser and a medium width lapel he would probably have been accused of looking too “square”.

    • No – as I wrote in the previous entry, flares were out by the time Moonraker was released and well and truly out by FYEO. Anyone – and I mean ANYONE wearing flares at the time of this film would have been laughed out of whatever establishment they were inhabiting.

      • Flares, long shirt collars and wedding lapels were still very much worn by many people in Summer 1978 when the Moonraker wardrobe was being put together. Especially people of 30+. This is evident from movies and TV shows of that time.

  10. Good film – probably my favourite of Moore’s – with good wardrobe, but I’m perhaps less enthusiastic about the casual stuff than Matt is.

    I like the all-blue that Columbo has him wear, but the yellow shirt, the climbing jumper and gilet and the green and shearling blousons are a bit old-man for my taste – maybe that’s just Moore’s age starting to show.

  11. Well done, Matt. I knew this movie would come out (so far anyway) on top, sartorially.

    The parallels and ties back with OHMSS aren’t just sartorial and there are many scenes, situations (Bond accosted, dressed in “morning after” evening clothes on a beach by hoods which seem to be related to a villain but turn out to be allies) and even lines of dialogue (“He had lots of guts”, OHMSS. “You have guts, Mr.Bond”, FYEO) which echo the earlier movie. The blue blouson and polo neck sweater not only echo Moore’s casual wardrobe as Simon Templar but are a more classic version of Lazenby’s similar type outfit in earth tones, again worn in similar circumstances in OHMSS. Bond sports a DB blazer while relaxing around a Mediterranean town with the Bond girl in both movies (the “problem” with the FYEO blazer was combining the style of a classic DB blazer with Haywards signature low button stance. I’d guess Hayward would have preferred the arrangement used on the Octopussy Berlin suit and the dinner suit in AVTAK but this would have lacked the classic DB blazer element which was desired). Tbh, I never really felt the tailoring was designed to echo Connery as Moore was very much his own man sartorially and the ties, even a mid grey grenadine don’t really relate back directly to Connery’s style (a ubiquitous navy grenadine tie substituted for the occasional knit tie). The light brown suit was very much a Moore thing. While some might claim the white collar and cuff/striped body shirts were an “80s thing”, that fashion took off further in to the decade than 1980 and Moore wore them in movies previously and as far back as a decade earlier in The Persuaders. Its a shame cocktail cuffs were jettisoned completely as they are a uniquely Bondian style. I assume they too were viewed as too flamboyant for the new pared back Bond for the new decade.

    The “old man” idea levelled at the yellow jersey shirt and stone trousers could equally be said about the brown and ecru version except he wore the beautiful green suede blouson on top with this outfit. Roger turned 53 during filming and was really only dressing as any polished, tasteful gentleman of his age would have done in 1980 when dressing casually. Such an outfit may look “old mannish” in 2023 but anything more polished than jogging trousers and a T shirt probably invites that tag nowadays! The FYEO wardrobe worked to Rogers age and the Octopussy wardrobe followed on from this. For whatever reason, some outfits in his final movie may have been an attempt to introduce a more youthful vibe.

    Its a shame that having started out on a sartorial “all time high” at the start of the decade, that Bond’s wardrobe would plumb depths nobody realised and which NEVER should have been witnessed on the character on screen by the close of the decade but which would at least be arrested 6 years later with Pierce’s debut.

      • Thanks Matt. The whole mood of For Your Eyes Only harks back to 1969 and that opening to the movie in the cemetery really sets out their stall. It’s like a nod to the audience telling them the nonsense of the 70s is gone now and we’re getting serious again (especially, as Moore was a late sign on for the movie and a new Bond was a real possibility) It’s interesting that there are so many of these similarities, including sartorial.

      • Perfect analysis David. A terrific wardrobe for a terrific film. Also, Bond in this movie is roughly Roger’s actual age. Bond is usually perpetually in his late 30s or early 40s, but the 1969 date on Tracy’s tombstone adds 12 years to the character’s age. I am always puzzled by attempts to argue with what’s onscreen rather than evaluating how well the filmmakers pull off their vision. I think the film mostly works beautifully. 9/10.

    • Excellent points as always David. No debate from me that on balance Roger Moore’s highs are better than any of the other Bond actors because he knew how to dress well in his personal life with no mentoring required. Also agree that any slight and very debatable old man vibes in some casual outfits (which I like btw) are much preferable to how men dress like slobs and little boys in today’s nadir of men’s clothing.

      • Well said. I don’t really get the “old man” tag in relation to Rogers casual clothes in this movie. I’d be interested to know more about why people think so. Any alternative, in 1981, would have looked “oldest swinger in town”. He was dressed in a polished and classic way for a 53 year old man.

  12. Can’t really say anything except that I agree with most comments and that note is almost what I would give. I would have given an 8 regarding both the ski outfit and the final assault outfit, both don’t flatter Moore. The first one makes him look heavier, the cap wasn’t a necessity, and the last one, I don’t think is very Bondian ; it’s more what a middle aged man -and not a spy- would wear for hiking in the mountains. I would have appreciated a leather blouson/car coat for example, or something like Dalton in TLD. The tailored outfits look pretty timeless (it’s a lower button stance than Connery but I think it’s pretty flattering, could have worked with only one button on the jacket as well), they don’t look dated today at all. The dinner suit is as perfect as Sinclair’s ones, only the blazer looks sloppy with such a low buttoning point for the reasons Matt exposed. Most of the casualwear is pretty timeless in general, I agree that the all blue outfit is great : sober, stylish, efficient (if I remember well aren’t most of Columbo’s men dressed similarly ?) and it’s probably Moore’s best « assault outfit » from the series.
    Great analysis Matt as usual, I am enjoying this series more than a few months ago haha, I guess it may be time for me to rewatch a Moore movie :)

    • Agree with most of this. I think the move away from flamboyance towards more ‘stripped down’ details makes a lot of the tailored outfits more timeless in this outing.
      The yellow shirt doesn’t work for me, not style nor colour. I don’t like the suede either – something about the sloppiness of that kind of jacket isn’t flattering to my eye. Blousons are not easy – a slim cut on a slim torso can look fine, but any extra fabric around the front or back doesn’t look good.

      • I’ve never liked blousons either, something about them seems very unattractive to my eye. With that said, there are comments I’ve left on this very website that are a decade old in which I declare my hatred for striped shirts, belts, and anything other than windsor knotted neckties. I’ve fully come around on those things, so maybe one day I’ll find my wardrobe filled with blousons.

  13. Well said. I don’t really get the “old man” tag in relation to Rogers casual clothes in this movie. I’d be interested to know more about why people think so. Any alternative, in 1981, would have looked “oldest swinger in town”. He was dressed in a polished and classic way for a 53 year old man.

    • The only thing he wears that I would call ‘old-mannish’ is the yellow jersey shirt. I don’t think it’s a bad outfit, I just expect Bond’s dress sense to embody the danger and professionalism of the character and, for the most part, the casual outfits in this film do that. But that one just looks a bit too like an old man at a golf resort for my taste. I think a polo shirt or even an untucked shirt like both Sean and Roger had worn previously would’ve been a better choice.

      • I agree that the yellow jersey shirt not adequately reflects the danger och professionalism expected from the character. Roger probably just wanted to blend in with the sunny climate of Greece and the colourful parrot in that particular scene… It doesn’t exactly help that the shirt’s placket isn’t properly aligned with the trousers, as Matt previously covered in another post. Roger wore a yellow shirt on a sunny location in one episode of the Persuaders as well.

    • The interesting thing about these kinds of associations is that people often become ‘fixed’ in what they wear. Whilst the ‘old man’ look from 1981 might’ve been fresh then, the people who have stuck with it are almost exclusively people who were young at the time, and who are now 42 years older than they were. When I think of elderly tourists nowadays their standard attire seems to be shorts + a short sleeved dress shirt. Certainly not something that looks very stylish to my eye…

  14. I remember very well, the movie was a healty breath of fresh air after absurd things as Moonraker.
    The attempt to create a link with the “real” Bond is remarkable (the cemetery sequence were rests Tracy Draco,and the showdown with Blofeld in which the Saint avenges George Lazenby, after 11 years.,is amazing)
    In my opinion how long this time Roger Moore is good in 007 role,would have been better a new start with a new Bond in the wake of Connery (Timoty Dalton for example).

    The clothing is fine, less the low button stance and the low gorge, is superb.
    You can feel the healthy air of Conduit Street.

  15. Edit:
    I have read now that some actors were considered for replace Moore in For Your Eyes Only.
    Among these,Lewis Collins (“The Professionals”).
    He was not chosen because Broccoli found he “too much aggressive”.
    Wait..aggressive as the young connery 20 years earlier?
    Collins could have been a terrific James Bond !
    Just imagine it with a conduit cut suit and a good script from Ian Fleming’s novel !
    I could have believed to the revenge in the opening sequence: James Bond is back!!

  16. I find it interesting that the fuller cut and low button stance was being embraced as early as 1980/81 since I associate it more with the late-80s and early-90s. I’m curious, would an equivalent suit from that period have been substantially different in cut to the ones here? I’m guessing slightly wider lapels and pleated trousers, but I’m not sure what the big trends were in English tailoring at that time.

    • In the mid 1970s, Armani introduced the fuller cuts, wider shoulders, narrower lapels, and lower gorge and button stance that we associate with 1980s and early 1990s style. In 1980/81, I believe you would have been seeing suits somewhat similar to what Roger Moore is wearing, but typical suits would have had a slightly lower gorge, squarer shoulders and narrower lapels. Pleated trousers weren’t yet mainstream.

      • Interesting. I know Richard Gere wore Armani in American Gigolo in 1980 and I understood that was still a fairly fashion forward look at that time. But clearly the influence of Armani was already starting to filter through, even in English tailoring.

        Apologies for the poor wording of my previous comment, but I was actually asking how the cut of Roger’s suits in this film compare to a typical English suit in the late-80s/early-90s, when I assume pleated trousers would’ve become mainstream.

      • Doug Hayward made suits with a very soft and light shoulder. That style was never typical of English suits. The typical English suit of the late 1980s/early 1990s has square shoulders, slightly narrow lapels and forward-pleat trousers. See Timothy Dalton’s tan suit in The Living Daylights for a fairly typical example.

  17. Ugh and O00007F! 3/10 for this outing, and that’s being generous. What at the time read as a welcome corrective to the comic excesses of the already-hopelessly outdated 70s now reads like the most depressing catalogue of early 80s suburban mall men’s shop display windows. Conservative, unflashy, traditional is all great and has often served Bond well but this film is testament to how risky it can be to not take risks. All the suits are soooo depressing–they just don’t “work”. Just using one example, as he lurches into the 80s, Moore’s Bond looks increasing sillier and “old mannish” wearing creased trousers in adventure wear. His yellow short sleeve shirt does ideed look old man, while clinging to tans and browns where they don’t belong. And yes, a notch tuxedo CAN work on rare occasion, as it did in Goldfinger, but Moore’s dinner suit shows why it usually doesn’t. And his off-white shirt doesn’t flatter Moore in his grey on grey suit, merely makes it look dingy, and way too 70s for the 80s or for today–it makes the suit look less like a successful callback to early Connery and more like a failed homage to North by Northwest. One minor defense of this otherwise trainwreck of mallwear fashion sins: while the top button stance of his jackets is too low, it is only JUST a hair too low. For the last 15 or 16 years, most suitmakers (whether bespoke or mass market) have been making 3 button suits disguised as two button suits, where the top button stance is so high it might as well be a mid-stance 3 button suit of the 90s, only with its bottom button lopped off (along with the last couple of inches of the now-too-short-jackets). A too-high top button on a too-short jacket is the flared trousers of the 2010s–but hopefully not the rest of the 2020s. My only other defense is: Moore was gaining weight and part of these drab cuts was to hide his spreading waistline. With those two small defenses out of the way, FYEO ranks with Octopussy as the most depressing, drab, and worst of all, unflattering of Moore’s 007 wardrobes. Made me wince to see you compare it to the glorious OHMSS and Connery’s legendary 60s run. Give me the flashy and of-its-time but sharp and dapper brilliance of his Man with the Golden Gun costumes any and every day of the week. I think in this case you mistook correcting the 70s for getting the 80s right. The Bond movies got the almost the entire 80s wrong. In matters sartorial, you can be astoundingly incorrect while getting it magnificently right, or in FYEO’s case you can get things mostly correct while getting everything mind-numbingly wrong. I only hope Moore enjoyed his Orange Julius at the food court while waiting for his suits to be rung up.

    • There are degrees to which I agree and degrees to which I disagree here, so I’ll try to be constructive. I actually happen to agree about this wardrobe being significantly less exciting than Moore’s previous outing. I prefer Cyril Castle’s suits over Doug Hayward’s and I’ll own that, but I also find nothing WRONG with Hayward, as it were. They certainly are safe, for better or worse, but you seem to actually dislike them.
      I’d hazard a guess that you dislike the ’80s fashion trends as evidence by your claim that Bond mostly got it wrong all the way through the decade, and I suppose that includes Licence to Kill with its unapologetically ’80s flavour.
      The question I’m leading to is this, how would you have dressed Bond in this decade? If you don’t like Hayward’s conservative take would you have leaned more heavily into dramatic, boxy suits a-la LtK, or something else entirely?

  18. Dear Matt,
    long time reader, first comment, so a big “Thank You” first! This blog is an endless source of research and inspiration, and a wonderful guide to the art of dressing well.
    One question: I’d like to try out blue on blue looks like Moore wore in Octopussy (at the end) and here with the Blouson and the turtleneck. What material do you think the two blue trousers are most likely made of? Wool would rather be too shiny, don’t you think? Maybe cotton or some mix?
    All the best to you!

    • Thank you, Simon! The blue trousers in Octopussy look like a heavy cotton to me. The trousers in For Your Eyes Only are probably wool. Bond often used to wear wool trousers for almost any purpose because they look neater on screen than cotton or linen. English wool often has very little shine, particularly in low S-number and woven in a plain weave or in a flannel. Bond used to frequently wear such wools.

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